Visionary women recognized for efforts to revitalize South Side
Columbus, OH (April 19, 2016)—The Columbus Foundation named Tanny Crane and Jane Grote Abell winners of The Spirit of Columbus Award at a civic celebration held at the Foundation on April 18.
The Spirit of Columbus Award, affectionately known as the “Jerries” in honor of aviatrix Jerrie Mock, recognizes individuals who have exhibited exemplary community spirit through their accomplishments.
“Tonight we celebrate those among us who have dedicated their energy to such a positive and affirming result,” said Douglas F. Kridler, president and CEO of The Columbus Foundation. “Tanny and Jane’s vision and collaboration are championing hope and opportunities for residents of the South Side. With the opening of the Reeb Avenue Center, they are transforming and revitalizing a long-standing and beloved Columbus neighborhood.”
Tanny Crane, president and CEO of the Crane Group, and Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of the board of Donatos Pizza, both have strong business and family ties to the South Side. Together, they spearheaded the development of Reeb Avenue Center to help restore prosperity to the neighborhood. The center was four years in the making, and inspired by public and private support, including investments from the Crane, Grote, and Kelley families who have strong ties to the South Side.
“Jane and I have always said it’s a labor of love. It’s not about us. It’s really about this community, which is so incredibly important to the city of Columbus. The South Side deserves this.”
When the venture began, the first step, according to Ms. Crane was, "let’s find out what our neighbors need." Residents identified early learning, lifelong educational resources, and job training, which became the focus of the center’s services.
Today the center—a hub of hope—is located in the 113-year-old former Reeb Avenue Elementary School. The center opened its doors in September 2015 after extensive renovation. Serving the 6,700 residents of the South Side, the center includes the South Side Roots Cafe & Market, operated by Mid-Ohio Foodbank, South Side Learning & Development Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus, and Community Development for All People, to name a few. Both Ms. Crane and Ms. Abell serve on the board of directors of the Reeb Avenue Center.
The recipients were presented with a “Jerrie,” a bronze miniature of the Jerrie Mock sculpture at Port Columbus International Airport, created by local artist Renate Fackler. In addition to the sculptures, each will receive a $5,000 grant to support the nonprofit of their choice. A 38-year-old Bexley mother of three, Mock took off from Port Columbus on March 19, 1964. She landed safely back in Columbus on April 17 after 29 days, 21 stops, and more than 23,000 miles.
Mock was named the first recipient of The Spirit of Columbus Award in 2013, along with Jeni Britton Bauer and David Brown. Recent recipients include Denny Griffith and former mayor Michael B. Coleman.
“Tanny and Jane embody the compassion, generosity, and intelligence that is The Spirit of Columbus,” Kridler said.
About The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to more than 2,400 individuals, families, businesses, and communities that have created unique funds to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. More than 70 years strong, The Columbus Foundation is the seventh largest community foundation in the United States. The Foundation’s online giving marketplace, PowerPhilanthropy®, makes it possible for everyone to access valuable information about nonprofit organizations in central Ohio. Visit columbusfoundation.org to learn more.